how to check a used car before you buy it

After you have collected a list of what you believe the car will require you can telephone auto parts stores to check the price and availability of replacement parts.
Check the trunk of the car to make sure it is still in good condition.
Check the brake fluid, and reservoir to make sure its is not leaking.
There are many things to look for when purchasing a used car but one important factor is to give the car a physical check before making your final decision.

(This should also serve to draw out any potential sentient-car crime-fighting partners, as they cannot resist wisecracking and will likely say something cute like, "Geez, buy me dinner first." If so, then you’re done: It’s all cowhide coverings and curly hair for the rest of your days.) If there’s little to no rapport between you and the vehicle at this point, just sight down the trim lines to make sure they’re straight with no fluctuations — offset doors, fenders, and uneven lines could indicate frame damage.
So why do dealerships always want to know your price, payment and trades first? Because it gives them leverage against you: "Oh, well, if we’re going to do you a favor and take this trade-in off your hands, you have to buy one of these pre-selected vehicles." Or, "Oh, you’re financing? Those aren’t our finance cars.
Check those out in advance and start looking up the models you’re interested in, then read up on each one: Comb through car sites like Edmunds, click on forum posts by owners, get the specs and find out about users’ experience with reliability — hell, go to Wikipedia and bone up on the entire history of the model and the powertrain you’re considering.
Back in school, you’d do the same amount of research for a book report on Huck Finn just because an older lady in a paneled skirt threatened you with the alphabet — you can do the same legwork for a multi-thousand-dollar purchase you’re going to entrust your life to every time you leave the house to get a burrito.
Thousands of accidents happen every day, yet when you at a used car lot, how often do you see or hear that a used car you are looking at was restored after an accident? Learn how to spot signs of previous accidents or corrosion repair.
A used car history report may reveal some facts about the vehicle’s past: previous reported accidents, rolled back odometer, failed emission tests, flood damage, number of owners and more.
Because private sellers are not bound to the same strict oversight as dealerships, you, to protect yourself, must adopt a scrupulous mindset when inspecting a used car of interest.
Scotty Kilmer, mechanic for the last 46 years, shows how you can quickly check out a used car BEFORE you buy a potential lemon.
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To be clear, the Range Rover is unrelated to the Range Rover Sport.<br /></span></p><p><span class="ecbody">Land Rover’s venerable Range Rover can tackle tough off-road terrain that would foil less-capable SUVs, yet it still has the cachet to warrant a front-and-center parking space at an upscale hotel.
2679912011311715674611/8/2010Choice of two V-8 enginesSix-speed automaticStandard navigation systemOptional adaptive cruise controlOptional cooled storage boxRange Rover cachet for a less expensive priceStylish interiorFront-seat comfortTowing capacityFuel economyBackseat spaceRear seat folding action<p><span class="ecbody">Land Rover’s venerable Range Rover can tackle tough off-road terrain that would foil less-capable SUVs, yet it still has the cachet to warrant a front-and-center parking space at an upscale hotel.
<br /></span></p> <p><span class="ecbody"><span class="echeader">New for 2011<br /></span>&nbsp;<br />Aside from changes to option package content and new exterior colors, there are no significant changes for 2011.<br /><br /><span class="echeader">Exterior<br /></span>The Range Rover Sport features a two-bar grille and a large air intake flanked by LED headlights.
Exterior features include: <br /></span></p> <ul> <li class="ecbody">Standard 19-inch alloy wheels with low-profile tires</li> <li class="ecbody">Standard skid plates</li> <li class="ecbody">Standard rear spoiler</li> <li class="ecbody">20-inch wheels optional </li> <li class="ecbody">Optional adaptive headlights swivel to better illuminate turns</li> </ul> <p><span class="ecbody"><span class="echeader">Interior<br /></span>A 5-inch LCD screen within the instrument cluster houses an information display.
Interior features include:<br /></span></p> <ul> <li class="ecbody">Standard DVD-based navigation</li> <li class="ecbody">Optional upgraded Harman Kardon stereo</li> <li class="ecbody">Optional cooled box for drinks, etc.</li> </ul> <p><span class="ecbody"><span class="echeader">Under the Hood<br /></span>Two 5.0-liter V-8 engines are offered.
Usually attached to a window, it must contain certain information, including whether the vehicle is being sold "as is" or with a warranty, and what percentage of repair costs (if any) the dealer is obligated to pay.
If the dipstick has water droplets on it or gray or foamy oil, it could indicate a cracked engine block or blown head gasket, two serious problems.
If you see oil drips, oily leaks, or green or red fluid on the engine or the pavement beneath the car, it’s not a good sign.
Check each body panel and the roof, looking for scratches, dents, and rust.
Tires that have been driven while overinflated tend to wear more in the middle than on the sides.
If a sale is designated "as is," it means that the dealer makes no guarantees as to the condition of the vehicle, so any problems that arise after you have made the purchase will be your responsibility.
And be sure to check that the spare is in good shape and that the proper jack and lug wrench are present.
Check the headliner and roof trim for stains or sags to see if water is leaking through the sunroof, ill-fitting doors, or windows.
Check the automatic-transmission fluid with the engine warmed up and running.
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To avoid purchasing the proverbial lemon, here’s a checklist of 10 strategies and points from CARFAX to check to help ensure condition and value before buying a used car.
A vehicle history report can you help you reveal title problems, ownership history, service points and previous accidents, large or small.
CARFAX Vehicle History Reports™ are available on all used cars and light trucks model year 1981 or later.
Taking the time to do thorough research and negotiating for the best price is the best way you can ensure you’re getting a good deal on the right vehicle.
Use DVLA’s online vehicle enquiry service to check that the details you’ve been given match their records.
With reports in hand, Google some common problems that make and model encounters, then head to Kelley Blue Book—the Mecca of used car resources—to see if comparable cars of the same general age, style and condition are selling for around the price you’ve been quoted.
The only thing standing between you and sweet, sweet victory is a little bit of paperwork including transferring the title into your name (or your parents’ names), registering the vehicle and maybe even some state licensing work.
Having a clear idea of what kind of car you’re looking for and the features you need in a vehicle before you head to a lot can save you thousands and prevent you from winding up with a bigger, gas-guzzling luxury ride when you really just need something to get to class and back.
If a car passes the test drive, we highly recommend ponying up for a history report that will give you a boatload of information including if the vehicle has been in any major collisions, has liens against it and whether the odometer has been rolled back.
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If the car you’re eyeing passes your background check, head back to the lot, this time with your parents, siblings and anyone else who may be driving your sweet ride.
The price of gas is high, but that car…you just…can’t…get it…out of…your head! THE MADNESS! If visions of your own ride are just too overpowering, take a peek at your bank account before looking at available cars.
While you’re there, ask the seller about the car’s history, gas mileage, anti-theft features, whether it comes with a warranty, what type of oil it takes, whether they have the vehicle’s service records and the car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
When you select a car through the Appraise a Used Car tool, it takes you to the gateway of all the information you need to make a good buying decision: pricing, reviews, specs, fuel economy and lists of standard features.
Before you contact a used-car seller, you should get a vehicle history report for the car you’re interested in buying.
If you are buying a car from a private party, you just have to make sure that payment is final and that the seller properly transfers title and registration to you.
Once you find a good prospective car, call the seller before you go to see the vehicle.
Expert says as many as 80 percent of used cars sold through online classified ads are coming from illegal car dealers called "curbstoners." Three longtime car experts — Eric Friedman, Director of Montgomery County s Office of Consumer Protection; John Creel, retired automotive crimes investigator; and Jack Fitzgerald, Chairman of Fitzgerald Automalls provide tips on what to know before buying a used car.
Use the CARFAX search as one important tool, along with a vehicle inspection and test drive, to make a better decision about your next used car.
CARFAX Vehicle History Reports are based on information supplied to CARFAX.
CARFAX does not have the complete history of every vehicle.
Once again, do an Internet search for “most expensive cars to repair” and “most expensive cars to own” and you’ll find plenty of results, including this one from Consumer Reports.
First, simply do a search of “most complained about cars.” You’ll find an impressive amount of information from a variety of authoritative sources.
Now, do the same for “most reliable cars.” You’ll find articles about ratings by organizations like J.D. Power and Consumer Reports.
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You may also want to search “complaints” and the make, model and year of a vehicle you’re considering.
Check out “What You Need to Know About Car Recalls” to find out about the recall history of the vehicle you’re interested in.
Our friends at do an annual ranking of the most expensive and least expensive cars to insure, and allow you to search for the average insurance rate for a vehicle.
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Check MOT status and history online (with vehicle registration and document reference on V5C) or by phone on VOSA’s MOT status line, 0870 330 0444.
From handy hints on how to spot if a car is stolen to alterations on the mileage, here’s our essential list of questions to ask, and items to check when you’re viewing a used car.
The VIN is recorded on a metal strip at the base of the windscreen, under the bonnet or beneath the carpet on the driver’s side.
• Check the tyres and the spare wheel with a tread depth gauge, which are available from car accessory shops.
• Check the car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for signs of tampering.
You can work out a loan with the dealership or manufacturer, but it is also possible to walk into a dealership with financing already secured through a third-party source, such as our official, preferred lender LightStream, an online lending division of SunTrust Bank, and the preferred lender of Kelley Blue Book.
Here are some suggestions: First, make a list of all the things you need your vehicle to do (haul kids, go off-road, get good gas mileage, be absolutely reliable, maintain good re-sale value, be easy to park) and then make a second list of all the things you admire in a vehicle (body style, colors, luxury options).
It always pays to shop around, so check rates with your insurance company before you buy your new vehicle, and then quote & name your price on Progressive online to compare.
You should end up with a list of required and desired characteristics, which you can use to eliminate models that won’t work for you (you can’t haul kids in a two-seat sports car or operate a full-size sport utility vehicle on an economy-car fuel budget).
Typically, sport cars, anything with "turbo" or "supercharged" in the name, higher performance vehicles with larger or more powerful engines and vehicles with four-wheel drive will give you higher insurance rates.
When you talk with the seller, be firm with your budget range, but don’t share your target price until the dealer or seller makes an offer – not revealing the number gives you more negotiating power.
Whether you’re heading to the dealership or buying from a private seller, arming yourself with knowledge and resources will help you make the most informed decision.
No matter how good the deal seems, be prepared to shop around so you aren’t pressured into buying a vehicle that may not be the right match for you.

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